Virginia lawmakers are promising a top-to-bottom review of the state's mental health system with the goal of making it a model for the rest of the country.

A new mental health reform panel met for the first time in Richmond. The panel elected state senator Creigh Deeds as its chairman.

Deeds has made improving the state's mental health system his top priority following his mentally ill son's suicide last year.

Deeds says the panel has a broad mandate to recommend and help implement improvements to the state's mental health system.